Pur Autre Vie

I'm not wrong, I'm just an asshole

Saturday, March 17, 2012

An App for That

Erik Hanson wrote a tweet (not sure that link will work) about an app for a tablet in which the camera is used to take pictures (video?) of passersby, who are then inserted into some kind of first-person shooter game. Or at least, I think that's what was going on.

It poses an interesting problem for the law, I suppose. Here's another possibility along the same lines: an app called "Take a Picture, It'll Last Longer" that records video of people and later adds whatever erotic elements the user wants, if any (it would presumably take a lot of processing power to do something sophisticated, but a simple version would be to insert the person's face into a pre-existing porn video).

Of course, people are already free to do this within their heads - you can't go out in public without running the risk that someone will use a mental image of you as masturbation fodder (well, actually, I can go out in public without running that risk, but most people can't). And I suppose the same goes for pictures taken in public. But since the hypothetical app is explicitly designed to facilitate this behavior, I wonder if it crosses a legal or moral line. Particularly, I suppose, if the video is of a child - though remember, we're talking about innocuous video that is later remixed. Although, if you end up with something that resembles child porn, I think that is clearly illegal under existing law.

None of this will matter once the pangasm has arrived.


Blogger Grobstein said...

Actually, the app Erik was describing was an example of what's called "Augmented Reality" (AR), which is distinguished by the real-time manipulation of input from the world. So you do not capture images of people to later massacre in a game. You capture images of people that contemporaneously become targets in a game.

It is as though the tablet becomes a "window" through which you can shoot the people around you without consequence.

Kids today have it so easy; when I was a kid we had to do this with our minds.

As to your legal question, it would be decided in the first instance by the Court of the App Store Review Board, who I'm fairly confident would reject it. (In seriousness I think there are some interesting questions here.)

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